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Q: How can I stay healthy during air travel?

Posted December 25, 2013 in Advice Column, Pleasant Hill

A: There are ways to make travel more healthy and comfortable for you and your family. Here are some tips:

• Carry all of your medications for the entire trip on your carry-on luggage. Bring extra in case your return trip is delayed. Carry a list of all of your medications and dosages with you. Listing the name and phone number for your doctor on this card is also a good idea.

• The air in airplanes is dry, so drink plenty of nonalcoholic, decaffeinated beverages to stay hydrated. Consider using nasal saline spray to keep nasal passages moist as well.

• To avoid pain in your ears, consider taking a decongestant 30 minutes before takeoff. (Check with your doctor about this, especially if you have high blood pressure.) Also consider chewing gum. Babies may be soothed by taking a bottle or sucking on a pacifier during the flight.

• To prevent blood clots, get up and walk around every now and then (when permitted).

• Minimizing jet lag can be accomplished by getting plenty of sleep before you leave, going along with local meal and sleep times to get used to the new time zone and exercising as much as possible on your trip.

• Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your face/mouth/eyes, and try to get plenty of sleep both before and during your trip. And if you are knowingly sick, stay home.

Information from, provided by Sally Bennett, PA-C, Mercy East Family Medicine, 5900 E. University Ave., Suite 200, 643-2400.

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